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Snippets from UK: Despite Jump in India's Covid Cases, Britain Allows Flights

File photo of PM Narendra Modi with British PM Boris Johnson. (Reuters)

File photo of PM Narendra Modi with British PM Boris Johnson. (Reuters)

From plans for Boris Johnson's upcoming India visit to some 'sweet talk' between the two countries, a roundup of what's making news today.

Flights from India Continue Despite Covid Spurt: Why hasn’t Britain banned flights from India? This is not a suggestion that it should, but the British government decision does appear baffling. Flights from Pakistan and Bangladesh to the UK have been stopped. As of Wednesday, Pakistan had reported 5,400 new Covid-19 cases in a day, Bangladesh 5,200. India reported above 200,000. And yet flights from India continue, though limited in number and with due precautions. A UK government spokesperson says the overall number of new cases in any country is only one factor in the decision taken.

Boris Johnson’s India Visit Still on: Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s visit due from April 26 is still going ahead as matters stand at present, but has been cut short – it remains under review given the spiralling cases in India. At the very least Mumbai is off the itinerary, given the high incidence of Covid. The high and rising cases in India’s capital do raise questions about the programme through the Delhi visit as well. But both sides are keen that the visit go ahead, even if it is truncated and the programmes get reduced further.

India to Supply Sugar in Sweet Deal for UK: Indian export of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK has been restricted currently, but India has found a way to sweeten exports to Britain with an agreement to supply the country with 3,675 tonnes of sugar at preferential rates. In its own way a timely offer. Britain is just coming out of a long lockdown, and will want to celebrate no doubt with cake and more. This does not of course stop the British quest for a larger slice of the vaccine pie.

UK Insurer Calls Egyptian Compensation Claim on Ever Given ‘Unrealistic’: The Indian crew of 25 on the Ever Given, the cargo ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal for six days from March 23, is now stranded on the ship following a dispute that has arisen between Egyptian authorities and the Japanese owners of the ship. The Egyptian authorities have demanded 900 million dollars in compensation for loss of revenue over the six-day period and the cost of freeing the ship. The ship ran aground in a sandstorm that cut visibility to near zero. UK Club, one of the ship’s insurers, has called the Egyptian claim unrealistic.

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first published:April 15, 2021, 16:08 IST